Free Punting in Cambridge

Unlocking the World of Punting in Cambridge


When you think of Cambridge, images of stunning architecture, historic colleges, and tranquil river scenes likely come to mind. Among the quintessential experiences that this charming city offers, punting stands out as a must-do activity. Yet, a common question that often arises among visitors is whether punting in Cambridge is free. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of punting in Cambridge, exploring everything from the costs and seasons to tour types and unique experiences. By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to plan the perfect punting adventure in this picturesque city.

Is Punting Free?

The short answer is no. There is no one singular answer when it comes to ‘how much does punting in Cambridge cost’. Cambridge punting costs vary massively, it depends on the date, time and tour type you opt for. No matter what time of year you go, there is no free punting in Cambridge but you can grab yourself a deal or two.

Our chauffeured punting tours operate all year round. Understandably our cheaper tours run throughout Winter and our more expensive tours run throughout summer.

Punting Costs and Seasons

Punting in Cambridge operates year-round, but punting prices can vary significantly depending on the season. To make the most of your punting experience while staying within your budget, it’s essential to understand the seasonal price fluctuations:

  • Low Season (October to March): If you’re a budget-conscious traveler, this is the ideal time to go punting in Cambridge. The lower demand during the winter months often results in more affordable prices.
  • High Season (April to June, September): Spring and early summer witness increased tourist footfall, which can lead to higher punting prices during these months.
  • Peak Season (July and August): If you plan to visit Cambridge during the peak of summer, expect the highest punting prices. These months are not only the warmest but also the busiest for tourists.


Punting Hours and Tour Types

Cambridge punting tours are available throughout the day, starting at 9 am and continuing until dusk, 364 days a year. However, it’s important to note that the operating hours may vary depending on the season. To help you choose the perfect time for your punting adventure, consider the following tour options:

  • Morning and Early Bird Tours (before 11 am): For those who love starting their day early, these tours are perfect. You can make the most of your morning in Cambridge while enjoying the tranquility of the river.
  • Peak Time Tours (1 pm to 6 pm): If you prefer punting under the warm sun and want to soak in the bustling atmosphere along the river, these tours are ideal.
  • Evening Tours (limited to summer, after 6 pm): For a touch of romance and the magical golden hour, consider booking an evening punting tour during the summer months. The evening light adds a unique charm to your experience.


Day of the Week and Time of Booking

To further optimize your punting experience and potentially save on costs, consider the day of the week for your visit. Typically, punting on weekends tends to be more expensive compared to weekdays. If you have the flexibility to plan your trip during the week, you may find more budget-friendly options available.

Additionally, booking your punting tickets online and well in advance can lead to cost savings. Online prices are discounted and sometimes by up to 40%, compared to purchasing tickets in person on the day of your visit. This provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy punting while keeping your expenses in check.

Punting in Winter

Is punting in Cambridge possible during the winter months? The answer is a resounding yes! Punting companies in Cambridge remain open throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas Day. However, there are rare occasions when extreme weather conditions or strong river currents may force temporary closures to ensure the safety of both customers and staff.

When embarking on a winter punting adventure, it’s crucial to dress appropriately for the weather. Layered clothing is highly recommended, as it allows you to adjust your attire based on whether the day turns out to be cold or unexpectedly warm. Keep in mind that along the college backs, there isn’t much shelter from the wind, so dressing warmly is advisable.

Shared Punting Tours vs. Private Punting Tours

While the notion of free punting in Cambridge is a myth, there are various types of punting tours to suit different budgets and preferences. Both shared and private tours cover the same scenic route for the same duration, ensuring that you won’t miss out on any of the captivating sights Cambridge has to offer.

  • Shared Tours: In a shared tour, you’ll have your own row or section in a punt, but you’ll be sharing the boat with other visitors. This option is an excellent way to enjoy the experience while keeping costs lower.
  • Private Tours: Opting for a private tour means you’ll have the entire boat to yourself and your companions. Additionally, private tours often allow for add-ons like picnics and drinks, providing an opportunity to personalise your experience.


Unique Cambridge Experiences

While free punting may not be available, Cambridge offers a range of unique experiences that can enhance your punting adventure:

  • Gift Vouchers: Consider gifting a Cambridge punting experience with a gift voucher. These vouchers typically come with a year’s validity and can be customized to include special add-ons like picnics and drinks. It’s a thoughtful way to treat someone to a memorable day on the river.
  • Luxury Afternoon Tea: Elevate your punting experience by indulging in a luxurious afternoon tea onboard one of the punts. Harriets Tearooms, a local favorite, offers a delectable and quintessential afternoon tea experience that includes scones, petit fours, mini sandwiches, and a sparkling soft drink.
  • Professional Photography: To capture lasting memories of your time in Cambridge, you can enlist the services of a local photographer. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want beautiful photos to cherish, a professional photographer can help create visual mementos of your punting adventure. For more information, reach out to
Picnic Punting, Afternoon Tea picnic, Punting in Cambridge, Cambridge Punting, Traditional Punting Experience

In conclusion, punting in Cambridge may not be free, but it offers an unforgettable experience that allows you to explore the city’s rich history, picturesque landscapes, and iconic landmarks. By choosing the right time, tour type, and booking method, you can make the most of your punting adventure in this beautiful city. Whether you’re a budget traveler or seeking a luxurious experience, Cambridge punting has something special to offer everyone. So, plan your punting excursion today and unlock the enchanting world of Cambridge from the serene waters of the River Cam.

Posted on May 25th, 2023, by the Traditional Punting Company Editor